Language Learning: DuoLingo

So I had to keep a blog for some grad school assignments, and I chose to write about Web-based learning tools. One of the posts was about one of my favorite programs in the entire world: DuoLingo.

What follows is a bit of a silly post, but I urge you to check it out, as it’s a super-fun free program, and helped me refine my French a lot in a short amount of time.

DuoLingo is an excellent, free language learning tool. There is a web-based application and mobile app available for various devices to take your learning with you wherever you are. The focus of the software is to strengthen basic vocabulary first, and teach verb conjugations and new words as you go. It also allows you to test your own pronunciation using your built-in mic and voice recognition software. You start at the basic level and advance by learning a few new words or phrases at a time.

DuoLingo Progress

I used this approach as a review for French, and it was a great review of spelling and grammar for me that used context for some of the words I had forgotten. This was much more useful than drilling tables of conjugations without any context or relevance. With context clues available, learning new vocabulary was also easier and more intuitive.

If using this tool as a review, you can also test out of certain skills to get to what you really want to learn or practice. There are “checkpoints” at which you can test out of skills from your dashboard, marked by keyhole icons. You can also see your progress in certain categories:

DuoLingo Dashboard

Overall, it was fun and intuitive to use, and I got some great review in learning French. The mobile app is easy to use as well, and I loved being able to do a lesson while waiting for something or riding in the car. This would be a great tool for independent learners or as a class supplement for language learning that allows students to learn at their own pace and review as much as necessary. The fact that it’s free to use and you can invite friends to view your progress and compete would make it a great tool for high school students to use.